Murr’s ride to the top

By on February 14, 2018

Retired EHS teacher finally gets to celebrate the big win in his converted Eagles bus

Paul Murr Eagles bus

If you were curious about Paul Murr’s favorite football team, your curiosity would be satisfied the instant you set eyes on the minibus he drives to Eagles games. It’s a 1995 GMC Vandura which he bought in 2006 from Ephrata’s Head Start program. Murr retired in 1999 as a Spanish teacher at Ephrata High School, and was working part-time for Head Start at their Marshall Street facility.

He got to know the bus drivers, asked if they knew if used buses ever went for sale, and a few months later he was the proud owner of a yellow minibus.

Murr got a new Eagles-green paint job, and lots of Eagles decals. A crew of handy Brownstown Vo-tech students, working under contract, took a couple of seats from the back of the bus and installed a tailgater’s Nirvana, with room for a grill, ice chest, utensils, plates and cups and everything else you might need for a six-hour layover in the parking lot at the Linc.

After he had the bus Murr bought four season tickets, hoping to make a family affair out of trips to Philadelphia home games. His wife Deb, their son , and daughter were, in fact, a full complement for the first trip, which proved to be Deb’s only trip. She has opted to watch the games from the comfort of her home TV. Murr’s son, also named Paul, has remained an enthusiastic rider on the Eagle Express, which means leaving home at 4 a.m. for one o’clock games, and 6:30 a.m. for four o’clock events.

Paul Murr Eagles bus

Murr aims to get to the stadium parking lot at 6 a.m., just as the gates are opening. He heads for his regular spot along the fence, gets set up and makes egg burgers for his passengers. Sometimes the bus carries just Murr, his son and one of his son’s friends. Sometimes the bus is at maximum capacity, with eight passengers and the driver, which is always Murr senior, a non-drinker and designated driver.

Murr likes the camaraderie he’s found with his fellow tailgaters over the years. His tailgating neighbor is Mr. Smith, who lives 20 minutes away in New Jersey. If the Smiths get to their spot before the Murrs, they use traffic cones to save a spot for the Eagle Express. And if Murr gets there first, he does the same for the Smith crew.

Cones might not be popular with other early arrivals looking for a spot, but Murr pays $80 to drive his rig through the gate, and in 2017 made the trip from Akron for two pre-season and eight regular season games. And then, of course, the two post-season games, which cost an extra $120 per season ticket for the Falcons game, and another $170 for Minnesota.

So for the stalwart faithful, like Murr, cones seem totally justified.

Paul Murr Eagles bus

Super Bowl tickets are awarded by lottery – if “awarded” is the right word for tix that carry a face value of $2,100 – but Murr’s name didn’t come up in the drawing. He’s not sure what he would have done had he been given the opportunity to buy two tickets. After the underdogs showed their teeth in Minneapolis, Murr was debating a trip to Philly for the victory parade the Thursday after the game.

His mind was made up two days before the parade, though, when he wrenched his back at the Brownstown Sheetz helping a stranger change a tire. It was not your everyday wrench; his doctor told him he’d be hobbling around in pain for at least a month.

Murr admits to being a guy who has trouble keeping still, so it’s a good bet that while he’s moving in slo-mo, his mind will be turning over the events of the Eagles’ 2017 season, and contemplating the 2018 campaign.

He likes what he sees for 2018. He likes Doug Pederson’s gutsiness. He likes Howie Roseman’s football smarts. He likes the fact that 23 of the NFL’s best players are already signed up for the Eagles’ roster. He likes Carson Wentz, maybe the best QB in the league, backed up by Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles (which, we’ll see how that works out).

There just may be a dynasty in the works, Murr believes. And he expects to making his Philly trips in the fall with more than just two passengers.

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